January 4, 2002 - Welcome to the Marrakesh Express!

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By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, January 04, 2002 - 9:28 am: Edit Post

Welcome to the Marrakesh Express!

Read and comment on RPCV Susan Schaefer Davis's project to get Moroccan women weavers on line directly, so that they, instead of middle'men' or tourist shop owners, make most of the profit on their rugs. Susan would like this project to be run as action research, something she learned about from Moroccan colleagues who have seen all too many studies sitting on shelves after completion. Ideally she would work with weavers from four communities, making different styles of rugs, and follow them over a two year period to see what works and what needs improvement. The goal would be for the women, and their literate web master daughters or nieces, to be self-sufficient at the end of that period. Anyone have suggestions for funding sources? Send them to her at sdavis@uslink.net. Visit her web site at:

Welcome to the Marrakesh Express!*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Welcome to the Marrakesh Express!

This is Marrakesh Express, your on-line Moroccan rug and pillow gallery and shop. I'm Susan Schaefer Davis, an anthropologist, and I've worked and lived in Morocco off and on for over thirty years. My academic interest is women and gender, and the aesthetic counterpart is Moroccan textiles. Over the years I've bought beautiful things for myself, family and friends, and now I'm ready to share with you - you can learn by browsing, and also buy at bargain prices ranging from $15 to $900 for unique handmade items. Because I deal directly with the women weavers and local merchants, in fluent Moroccan Arabic, my prices are the lowest you'll find for such high quality items.

One advantage of this medium is that you can see the weavings; I've found one disadvantage is that graphic images sometimes load slowly. I've tried to set up the pages so that they do not take too long to load: there is a small image of each piece, and by clicking on it you can see a full screen picture with more and better detail. Usually you can also see a close-up.

Item 26 is a good example of one type of Moroccan weaving you'll see - try clicking it.

Having taught anthropology, I'm eager to educate people about these gorgeous, colorful weavings. With that in mind, I've divided Marrakesh Express into six sections, a Gallery with photos and descriptions of different styles, a Shop with the pieces currently for sale, and an area with my Newest Pieces for frequent visitors. Because people often write with questions about Morocco, I've added a page of Books and Videos on Morocco, and another on Travel in Morocco. Finally, there's a section with Links to sites I like on related topics. Please see the brief overview below, and then go ahead.

Introduction to Moroccan Weaving

All the textiles you will see are one-of-a-kind, handwoven (and a few embroidered) by traditional Moroccan women and girls, usually for their own use. Morocco is on the northwest corner of Africa, populated by Berbers and Arabs, and about the size of California. For its size, there are a large number of weaving styles. Rabat carpets are seen most in the U.S.: they have a central medallion and deep pile, resemble oriental carpets, and often contain much red and blue.

This collection focuses on the lesser-known and more varied flatweaves (often called kilims) from the Middle Atlas Mountains, with a few Glawa or Tazenakht pieces from the High Atlas south of Marrakesh. Nearly all are in wool, with white designs (usually in cotton) for contrast. Floor pieces range from about 3x5 feet to 5x8 feet, though some are larger. The rectangular shape fits Moroccan rooms, in which many have already been used; I find the colors in used pieces are often subtler and richer than in new ones. Their irregularity is another of their charms. Unlike mass-produced items, you nearly always find something new as you look. The Gallery images are of pieces that have been in my collection, or those of friends, so they are not for sale. If you'd like to order certain styles, I'll do some custom shopping on my next trip.

Now, for a quick, illustrated, education on Moroccan textiles, click Gallery. To see the pieces for sale, click Shop; and to see the Newest Pieces click those words. Click Books and Videos for suggested reading and viewing, Travel for information on guides, shops and trips, and Links for a collection of other interesting related sites. Finally, the Map will help you find some of the places I mention.

Copyright © Susan S. Davis 1994-2001. All rights reserved.

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